An uncharacteristic second-half performance from Brighton & Hove Albion allowed strugglers Fulham to secure a much-needed three points in their bid for survival.
A 17-minute brace from Glenn Murray looked to have put the Seagulls in control. However, Fulham fought back with goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic, Luciano Vietto and a stunning volley from Arsenal loanee Calum Chambers to claim the win.
Story of the game
Brighton began the game strongly, when Martin Montoya raced down the wing to cross for top scorer Murray to sweep in his ninth goal of the season after just three minutes.
Murray then doubled the lead with a clever finish from Pascal Gross’ attempted overhead kick to reach double figures for the season, and give the Seagulls a two-goal cushion.
Fulham’s first evidence of their threat going forwards came midway through the first half when Ryan Babel swivelled and unleashed a 25-yard drive that Maty Ryan tipped wide on his return from the Asia Cup.
Murray then came close to scoring a first-half hat trick with the ball dropping perfectly for him on the edge of the six-yard box, but he poked straight at Fulham ‘keeper Sergio Rico.
Albion midfielder Davy Propper then came very close to opening his account for the Seagulls with a ferocious drive that smacked the top of the bar and went behind for a goal kick. The Dutchman is yet to score for the club, and could have changed that last night but it wasn’t to be.
Fulham came out of the blocks in the second half and pulled a goal back two minutes after the restart when Chambers volleyed home after Brighton failed to clear a cross with any conviction.
Murray then had a golden chance to restore the Seagulls’ two-goal cushion when his header was superbly saved by Rico and no Brighton player followed in for the rebound.
Albion were made to pay as they hesitated in their box to clear a long, looping ball and Mitrovic took advantage to head home the equaliser and the Seagulls looked defensively vulnerable from then on. This was emphasised in the 74th minute when Mitrovic rose above Lewis Dunk to head in his second of the night and give Fulham the lead.
Vietto then scored a fourth just minutes later to top off a superb second-half performance from Claudio Ranieri’s team, but contrastingly an awful capitulation from Chris Hughton’s men emphasised the fact that their away from is still an area of concern.
Takeaways from the game
Mitrovic key for Fulham
Fulham striker Mitrovic will be key to their chances of survival this season with his presence up front and his ten goals means he is their top scorer ahead of Andre Schurrle with six.
Shane Duffy and Dunk rarely get bullied by a centre forward but Mitrovic’s aerial presence and strength proved too much to handle for the Seagulls backline and was instrumental in Ranieri’s side’s second-half comeback.
Seagulls away form has to improve
Brighton have been in the Premier League nearly two years, but haven’t seen much of an improvement in away performances despite changes of formations and personnel on separate occasions.
Chris Hughton has yet to find a consistent, successful formula to solve Albion’s away woes, and they have won just four away games in the Premier League.
They cannot be as reliant on their home form as they are now if they are to improve as a club, and this needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.